Apr 8, 2008

Why did I sell my Bullet? (will help the aspiring buyers)

I've been asked this questions many times now. Whoever knew that I rode a Bullet earlier asks the same question: Why did you sell it?! And then when they come to know that I've bought an Avenger to top it all, they give a rather amused look :). Understandably so. If I were in their shoes, perhaps I would also be amused.

But here's the story. Bullet Machismo with the AVL engine has its gear-lever on the left-hand side (as all other bikes do in India). This makes it easy for new Bullet buyers (who are migrating from other bikes to a Bullet) to familiarize themselves with riding a Bullet. However, therein lies the problem. The older Bullets had the gear-levers on the right; while one lever would help you change gears, the other would help you hit the neutral. This 'other lever' is not present in Bullets with AVL engines and that makes it extremely tough to hit neutral in certain conditions. And then, it's mighty tough to manage the bike. Let me explain with an example.

I'm riding in a traffic-prone area. Obviously I use (pull) the clutch very often. Also obvious that since I ride in the first/second gear more often, the engine gets hot. As I've mentioned, hitting neutral is tough. Now in Bullets, if the clutch stays pulled with a hot engine, the clutch rod starts losing control and then the bike just doesn't stay put. It moves even if you don't want it to :).

I'm smiling but if you have it drive day in and day out for kilometers together in traffic-prone area, you'll sweat a hell lot instead of enjoying the ride (no wonder, Bullet's meant for open roads and highways - as rightly advertised 'Trip'). That's why I sold it. This single problem! And this problem is only present in Bullets with AVL engine. Removing the 'other gear-lever' and moving the gear shift to left, while apparently seems a good user-friendly move by Royal Enfield, it could cause significant headache for the city-rider.

Aspiring buyers, take care. If you want to buy a Bullet with AVL engine, consider on an average where and how long will your ride be, and importantly how often on any given day?

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